Tuesday, 12 October 2021
Department of Justice and Equality
As the Deputy will appreciate, matters relating to animal welfare are not under my remit as Minister for Justice. I understand that the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013, which is within the responsibility of my colleague the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, provides a modern and robust framework for dealing with issues relating to animal welfare. I further understand that Local Authorities are responsible under the Act for inspection of the breeding facilities referred to by the Deputy.
As stated, the main legislative provisions regarding the regulation of these establishments fall under the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 (as amended). The Act makes a number of provisions regarding enforcement under Part 8 and Part 9, which provide that the relevant Local Authority or an authorised officer appointed by the Minister for Agriculture in writing is responsible for enforcement of the Act.
Section 37 of the Act does not automatically confer the powers of an authorised officer on members of An Garda Síochána and I have been advised by the Garda authorities that investigations under the Act, therefore, do not fall under An Garda Síochána's remit. Consequently no investigations of the nature specified by the Deputy have been undertaken by An Garda Síochána.